Care agreements

Care agreements enable Aboriginal communities to care for Aboriginal objects that have been excavated, disturbed or moved

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) allows the transfer of Aboriginal objects to an Aboriginal person or Aboriginal organisation for safekeeping through care agreements.

Transfer of Aboriginal objects

A care agreement is an agreement between two parties - the person or organisation asking for Aboriginal objects to be transferred to them and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC). In the agreement document the obligations of both parties are set out. The transferred Aboriginal object(s) are not owned, they are handed over for long-term safekeeping.

Credit: Merv Sutherland Heritage NSW

If you, or your organisation, want to be a custodian for Aboriginal objects you can apply for a care agreement to transfer those objects. There is no cost involved.

If you apply to be custodian of Aboriginal objects that are subject to an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) or an application for an AHIP, it is important to discuss the management of the objects with the Aboriginal parties registered for that application.

How to apply for a care agreement

To apply for a care agreement for the transfer of Aboriginal objects to an Aboriginal person or Aboriginal organisation:

The Australian Museum and Aboriginal archaeology

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 allows the Australian Museum to have custody of certain Aboriginal objects.

If you want to ask the Australian Museum Trust to hold Aboriginal objects collected under the terms of your Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit, contact the Australian Museum.

You could also go to the Museum's Australian archaeology webpage and refer to the Archaeological Collection Deposition Policy and Protocols for the Deposition of Archaeological Materials for more information.